If you are one of the many people around the region who rely on Stop & Shop for groceries, the news that the Stop & Shop union went out of work on Thursday may have left you scratching your head.
About 31,000 workers, unhappy with contract negotiations with the company, last month approved their supervisors to call for work stoppages. And on Thursday, the union worked well on that threat by traveling the clock 1[ads1]
But what does all this mean for the average Stop & Shop customer? Here we look at some immediate questions that customers can have.
How is my store affected?
A Stop & Shop representative reached by Globe late Thursday afternoon said she did not have specific numbers or locations for the stores that were affected. But if your store is in Massachusetts, Rhode Island or Connecticut, there is a good chance your local Stop & Shop might be part of the walkout.
Corporate managers said some stores were temporarily closed and the doors locked "for the safety of our customers and employees." From 17:00. Thursday, several places in the Boston area – including Somerville, South Bay Center, Brookline, Quincy, Dedham and Worcester – have reopened, according to Jennifer Brogan, a Stop & Shop spokesman.
Some of the stores get temporary replacement workers, says Brogan as workers who tend to have desk jobs (like in Quincys headquarters) head in to help call register or stock shelves, Brogan said. In addition, self-service lanes are available to customers in the stores that are open.
"We work as quickly as possible to restore the stores and to minimize disruption to our customers," Brogan said.
Meanwhile, here is a map of all 134 Stop & Shop locations in Massachusetts.
Do I have to go through a picket line?
It is unclear whether all shops want workers as rallies outside.
But at the Stop & Shop on the McGrath Highway in Somerville on Thursday afternoon, dozens of union members were greeted around the front of the store and urged people not to enter. (Shoppers looked surprised and confused, according to a Globe reporter at the scene.)
The workers in Somerville held signs with messages like "Please Don't Cross the Line." In front of the Freeport Street location in Dorchester, some characters read, "Please respect our picket line!"  Stop & Shop employees held strike posters outside the Freeport Street location in Dorchester. "sizes =" (min-width: 960px) 800px, 100vw "srcset =" // c.o0bg.com/rf/image_960w/Boston/2011-2020/2019/04/11/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/ WALKER_041119_12strikepic_2697x.jpg 960w, //c.o0bg.com/rf/image_835w/Boston/2011-2020/2019/04/11/BostonGlobe.com/Metro/Images/WALKER_041119_12strikepic_2697x.jpg 835w, //c.o0bg.com/ rf / image_460w / Boston / 2011-2020 / 2019/04/11 / BostonGlobe.com / Metro / Images / WALKER_041119_12strikepic_2697x.jpg 460w "src =" http://c.o0bg.com/rf/image_960w/Boston/2011- 2020/2019/04/11 / BostonGlobe.com / Metro / Images / WALKER_041119_12strikepic_2697x.jpg "/> CRAIG F. WALKER / GLOBE-STAFF Stop & Shop employees held strike posters off Freeport Street location in Dorchester.
CRAIG F. WALKER / GLOBE-STAFF
Stop & Shop employees held strike posters off Freeport Street location in Dorchester.
What do I do if my prescription is at the pharmacy? What about the bank?
Although a shop is closed, all pharmacies and banks in Stop & Shops will be open during normal hours, Brogan said. It will be store managers at the door ready to let some customers who need to go to the pharmacy or bank, Brogan said.
Several other people noted that the Stop & Shop pharmacy seemed to be open in closed stores.
What if I planned a Peapod delivery?
There may be some delays with orders, says Brogan, but a couple of tweet replies from the official @PeapodDelivers Twitter account assured customers that the exit will not affect Peapod deliveries.
How long will this continue?
The trade union did not mention a specific length that they plan to go for, and Brogan said the company had no indication of how long it could last.
How big is this deal?
Stop & Shop is the largest grocery store in New England by market share, according to Shelby Publishing Co., owner of The Griffin Report of the Northeast.
Shelby Publishing breaks New England into two markets – East and West – and Stop & Shop rules both. In West (Hartford / Springfield / Montpelier) region, Stop & Shops had 40.7 percent of the market share, while the company saw 22 percent in the east (Boston / Providence / Manchester / Portland / Bangor) region.
(Hannaford, now a corporate sibling, is widespread in the east – its roots are in Maine, but entered Massachusetts with the Victory purchase – but doesn't have much presence in the west.)
Why are the unions so upset?
Stop and shop workers – represented by five separate UFCW unions – had stayed at work since their agreements with the grocery chain expired on 23 February.
However, the Federation has not exactly kept quiet about its concerns. A group of workers and supporters marched through a Somerville store in March to demand a fair contract.
At that time, the union president said union leaders opposed the company's proposed contract change, which they said would cut wages, pensions, and health insurance. The company has also cut staff and trusted more on automation, he said.
"This company has shown us that they do not respect you," said Jeff Bollen, president of UFCW Local 1445, in a video. "They don't respect the hard work you do every day, and we're done talking today. We're going to take action."
The association said in a statement on Thursday that the company is flush with cash.
"" Stop & Shop parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $ 2 billion in profits last year and received a US $ 225 million US tax credit in 2017, the statement said. "While Stop & Shop continues to propose drastically cutting employee benefits, Ahold's shareholders voted on April 10 to make a 11.1 percent increase in dividends last year. The expected payout will be April 25 for around $ 880 million."  What is the company's attitude?
Stop & Shop officials said in a statement Thursday that they were "disappointed" with the association's actions and said it was still trying to negotiate as recently as tomorrow.
In an overview of its position on the Stop & Shop website, the company states that their contract proposals include competitive salaries, healthcare for qualified employees, and retirement benefits.
"Full-time stop and shop associations in New England are among the highest paid in the industry," the company wrote online and added that the average hourly rate is $ 21.30. "Under our latest proposal, all employees would see an increase in home pay. Pay slips have never been suggested."
Travis Andersen, Martin Finucane, Jon Chesto and Matt Rocheleau of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents Max Reyes and John Hilliard contributed to this report.